September 30, 2004

A Short Book Review

Filed under: — Chap @ 10:06 am

I finished General (ret.) Tommy Franks’ American Soldier the other day.

  • Looks long but is a quick read. The ghostwriter is not too obtrusive.
  • Franks understands his strong and weak points. One of those weak points is being a public persona. That’s one reason why the other one star spent so much time in front of the camera during the war.
  • I’ve thought this before in the submarine flag community, but it’s true other places: the joint community is different from the individual services, and this book discusses some of the tensions that exist because of that. I’d keep a close eye on the submariner EA–bet you dollars to donuts he fits the Fargo/Giambastiani track rather than the SubPac-to-NR track.
  • Franks details some of the career experience that played out in the war–in the production of JDAM, the “speed kills” mantra, other things. How people picked him to move upward would be another interesting story that you won’t get in this book.
  • Franks is still very unhappy about all the retired generals who bashed him for money on TV while he was at war. We often forget that generals are political animals, and the previous administration picked eight years of flag officers; we also need to remember that new ideas get lots of impassioned resistance from real and credible experts in their field. Franks’ plan worked very well, and the guys on TV were wrong, and those guys should feel remorse at blasting the guy in the arena as he was dealing with the lions.

All in all, not a bad read.

I can’t wait to get the book Inside CentCom because I hear the guy who wrote that is putting his money where his mouth is and started a business that is rebuilding Iraq. I could do that kind of work when I got done with this career.

Barnett’s On A Roll

Filed under: — Chap @ 9:26 am

Tom Barnett has a fascinating blog, because he has a style here that sounds like what happens when my grandmother emails me from her WebTV–sort of a “great to see you, but how’d you get on the intarweb?” feel. I’m glad he’s got that blog!

Anyway, you can see how he’s thinking through some great ideas, building and pulsing his network, and living his life–he just came back from a trip to China with a new adopted kid, for instance, and stories of that mingle with highfalutin’ Big Think Talk.

….and this Big Think is useful:

Basayev, in that article, was described as a very recent “convert” to Islam. What struck me about that article was that it reminded me how, during the Cold War, many revolutionary leaders “found” Marxism. Why? Typically because they were first turned down by the West or—specifically—the U.S. Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh wrote his declaration of independence from colonial master France, cribbing it whole-cloth from Thomas Jefferson’s original. He saw himself as a natural George Washington, and couldn’t understand why Washington could not. We didn’t recognize him as such, because France was a big ally vis-à-vis the Sovs, so guess what? Ho had to become communist and Vietnam suffers that choice to this day.

Am I suggesting we should have sided with Basayev? No way. I see that independence movement as just more fracturing of the Core, as well as historically irrelevant/counterproductive to the larger integration processes of globalization. All I’m saying is that when you can’t join one side, you’re left with the other, and the other right now is radical Islam. When this happens, you’ll see that transnational movement absorb all sorts of cats and dogs, Basayev being one of them.

This article points to the opposite effect: not only are the Basayev’s of the Gap switching their stripes to join the radical Islam camp, but the radical Islam camp is basically accepting all comers.

Filed under: — Chap @ 8:56 am

The Creator of Worlds has good advice for all of us blatherers. He’s got a devastating example, and I can’t quote because it would spoil the lesson.

Filed under: — Chap @ 8:56 am

The Creator of Worlds has good advice for all of us blatherers. He’s got a devastating example, and I can’t quote because it would spoil the lesson.

September 29, 2004

Why Smearing Najaf Might Have Been The Wrong Idea

Filed under: — Chap @ 11:38 pm

Via Insta, a hidden paragraph that explains the benefits of acting in a way that might have looked wimpy in response to the jerk Sadr….

”The Najaf shrine — HUNDREDS of dead women and children were brought out after Sadr left,” Rose wrote. ”They (Sadr’s supporters) rounded them up during the battle and brought them in to be executed. Why? Because they anticipated the Americans would eventually enter the shrine and walk into a media ambush. We never went in. The people of Najaf love us right now because of that. They hate Sadr and want him dead.

Yeah, in a world where acting like Vlad Tepes is frowned upon, being patient like we were turns out to have been a good thing.

A Small Pile Of Music Links

Filed under: — Chap @ 11:20 pm

Well, one thing I don’t discuss enough on this site is music. I like music, entirely too much, and have a very weird record collection. There are not many people who have more than one band in their collection with songs that have lawn mowers in their instrumentation. I am entirely too proud of my single lame production credit on a record I love too much. So, since I met one person at a NATO reception who knew who Sonic Youth was and why adding Jim O’Rourke was interesting, I sent an email with some links. Why not reproduce that here?

Trouser Press was originally a magazine, then a groundbreaking book, and now a website with every band on the indie planet.

Dusty Groove is an evil record store because it makes me spend lots of money. I love it so.

Another record store that specializes in twee and indie is Darla. Try their cheapo samplers; they’ll get you hooked.

The BBC streams a lot of good shows. Gilles Peterson makes the best comp CDs ever (try Dusty Groove) and has a show heavy on where beats and jazz intermingle. Click around and you’ll find John Peel on there, too.

The Internet Archive has live shows from all sorts of Deadlike jam bands and tape-friendly groups. It’s got lots of whole shows, but you have to learn how to use weird files like .shn and so forth. Also connected to another archive of ephemeral movies (health movies from the ’60’s and so forth).

The Deep House Archives has mp3 downloads. The downside is that the site’s been dormant for two years and some links are dead. Despite this, there are some truly interesting mixes in there.

I like this band a lot. Try downloading “The Taller You Are, The Shorter You Get”.

Soul Strut is a bunch of record collectors with lots of obsessive in their makeup.

Taiwan Subs Update

Filed under: — Chap @ 10:10 pm

I shoulda known that the article about the USN nukes killing Taiwan subs was a part of a long process and not an end state. Here’s the next game move.

The United States plans to build eight diesel-electric submarines for Taiwan as part of an $18 billion arms package, a decision likely to irritate China, which has opposed the sale of weapons to Taipei.

Taiwan’s new representative to the United States, David Tawei Lee, said yesterday that the submarines would be built “probably in Mississippi, in [former Senate Majority Leader] Trent Lott’s state.”

Such a decision would end years of speculation about who would build the submarines, which had been promised to Taiwan in 2001.

Apparently there’s a funding bill up to their parliament that’s a big defense vs. other spending debate, and that’s driving things too.

But my acquaintance there is still looking for a job…

Hernando De Soto Interview

Filed under: — Chap @ 9:53 pm

So my wife says she’d like beef and broccoli tonight. I swear this has something to do with the title of this post.

The Thai restaurant is a nice place, and they know us by now: steamed summer rolls, beef and broccoli, pad see iew combination, one Diet Coke. I congratulated the waitress on her country’s former Finance Minister, Surakiart Sathirathai, getting serious play for the next UN Secretary General job. Well, this guy seems to have done okay recovering from the collapse of the Asian Tigers from a quick look, and he isn’t materially culpable in genocides like our current S-G, so sure, what the hell.

Turns out that our waitress, and the covered-hair waitress also working, were both graduate students in economics at Old Dominion University, and both ladies were going back to work in Thailand after their visas finished up. More power to them. I told them about Hernando de Soto, who I found about the same time as Martin Borlaug (the Nobel Prize winner you never heard of). They might need something like de Soto’s ideas in practice.

This interview with Hernando de Soto is a hint to a great book. I really like this book.

By the way, this article and another one I’ll mention are from the Washington Times, which I hadn’t seen in a while. So it’s a Moonie paper. So its comics are lame-o. Still, it reports things that don’t show up anywhere else. That was one of the best things about D.C.–Washington Times for the news that fell through the cracks, and the Post for three pages of comics. Ahhhh.

Although the Times was expensive tonight. Bill Gertz’ latest is excerpted, and this new Intellecktual Moh-Rawns book looks interesting after an interview with the author that showed it wasn’t near as lame as I thought it was. I had to go to the bookstore…

More On That Fake WTO Site

Filed under: — Chap @ 9:36 pm

Remember when I commented about a fake World Trade Organization website?

Is this thing on?

Anyhow. The WTO didn’t reserve .org for their GATT name, and another group took the site and built a site that looked like the real one, but stupid.

Turns out two things happened. First, people started inviting the fake WTO guys to meetings, and then the guys wrote a book about it. Or so I hear from NPR.

The clods that did this also were behind the Barbie prank where they swapped voice boxes for Barbies and GI Joes. Clever, interesting, nice comment on blah blah….except that meant that kids got what they didn’t want for Christmas, and therefore these guys are unneccessarily mean.

They’re still stirring up things and leaving a small slime trail at

September 28, 2004

SovQuality Internet Toy

Filed under: — Chap @ 10:44 pm

I never get over to the Commissar’s dacha until too late. He links to this little Java beastie is interesting…supposedly graphs the neighborhood around a particular URL. Not quite tool level yet, more toy level, but fun.

Kam Did It Right

Filed under: — Chap @ 9:51 pm

This little video clip from the house organ of SubPac shows the USS Bowfin memorial in Pearl Harbor, and some guys in interesting outfits, and some objects that might not look like much.

That wooden thing that looks a little like the badge on a Star Trek uniform was a table. That table, for 38 years, was at the end of the wardroom on the submarine USS Kamehameha. I spent a lot of time sitting at that table.

It’s nice to see that it didn’t wind up in some submarine groupie’s trophy room, like some other objects I know, or in the trash pile.

Why do I say we did it right? See that Medal of Honor winner, now a distinguished senior Senator, speaking? He helped President Kennedy name that boat. See the ceremonies over those objects you don’t recognize? That’s the keepers of the old Hawaiian ways and religion, folks, and they and others kept with us through the entire life of the submarine, even when (like now) it wasn’t fashionable to admit liking anything military in Hawaii. They wouldn’t have taken the effort to stay connected if we on that ship hadn’t reached out and connected with them and learned the history of Kamehameha and his people. Our salaries, our ships, our equipment are provided by the people of the country we serve, and we must not forget that or stop that reaching out to others.

I’m proud I got to help in a tiny part of that long history.

September 27, 2004

“You’re Leaving At 1400″

Filed under: — Chap @ 7:25 pm

Well, we needed a little coordination for some future ops involving submarines. Since I’m the future ops officer and the submarine officer, I encountered a harried LT who dropped by my stateroom right after the air guys put their travel plan together. I had to scramble to pack up and get the right information before hopping on the SH-60B.

The helo flight was professional. During the prebrief we talked about a previous exercise where they got “shot down”. They didn’t know that it was the fault of the guys choosing the wrong tool for the job–and they felt good about the exoneration. I didn’t get a chance to openly enjoy the flight, though–along for the ride was a chief who was going on leave and a NATO officer, but also a young woman who was going on emergency leave for something very sad, and a senior chief who got on the helo with what looked like the weight of the world on his shoulders, a man who either had no sleep for a long time, or was incapable of crying his eyes out the way he might have felt like doing.

After a harried interlude explaining to my wife exactly where the helo pad was on land, she picked me up and off we went to the new “home”. (Funny, I picked my old boss up at least twice a week for a flight from that same helo pad, and she never knew where it was. No wonder that was a lonely job.)

My better half had to pack up and move out while I was at sea, and had to find a place that she could stay with two cats for a month. Well, for what we were paying for a nice two story house in a nice neighborhood, we now live in a single hotel room with an oven, a Jim Thompson novel updated for the times. It’s thirty feet from the major highway, and not a tree is in sight. Ah, well, it’s the best we can do for now.

In the laundry, cleaning up two weeks of stinky, I met a dried-up fella who was coming back to this town from Hatteras. He lost his house in the hurricane, and won’t be able to rebuild. I also encountered lots of workers–seems that this is a good cheap place to stay when people build houses or ships or Wal-Marts, despite the exorbitant price.

Sailors Love Rough Sea Stories

Filed under: — Chap @ 9:34 am

In this case it’s stories about rough seas rather than rough stories told at sea. Sorry!

Well, the weather has been bad enough to remind us of all the bad-weather sea stories we know, but not so bad that we lose interest in telling them. My boss had a corker at lunch involving being told to drive through the eye of a hurricane, and the resulting damage. I didn’t say too much about the annual typhoon run we did, and completely avoided the Okinawa sortie story, but got many others in exchange.

Others noticed a previous post and sent in some of their own. Herewith:

–Dave has his own blog but posted this sea story in the comments.

Like Rick, had fun on the surface during Bravo trial on Jefferson City (SSN 759). We were taking 30+ part/starboard as well as 15+ fore and aft regularly. Only time I saw a longer line at the head than chow. I was OOD when we were doing a “snorkel at PD and shift propulsion to EPM” test sequence. Dive wasn’t watching COW too closely and he pulled on about 15K to keep below surfact effect without lining up depth control to blow.

Well, we were rocking and rolling at 58, snorkelating up a storm when I told my buddy in Manoeuvring (I always used the Brit spelling to piss off one dictionary fanatic Eng we had) to shift to EPM. I was waiting for the call back and watching my speed drop when he let me know they had a problem with keeping the breaker shut. They were trying again when we lost way and started going into an ass down Devil dive. The diesel secured on high vacuum as we passed through 10 up and 120′. My helmsman blew into the bear trap and I told the EOOW to shift back to mains and give me propulsion NOW as we passed through 15 up and 200′. Rang up AA II and finally caught it at about 300′. Replaced my helmsman and got an all-stop trim at 150′ while the EOOW fixed the breaker problem and went up next time lined up to flood and blow. Lost a second helmsman to the wave action that watch, but managed to fininsh the test plan without further incident.

We didn’t have lines for the head so much as we had everyone staggering around with trash bags tied to themselves. Reminds me of a story I can’t tell here…and another one, that happened before I got to the boat, where the Chief of the Watch decided to cycle the main ballast tank vents while transiting on the surface. They tell me that the ensuing depth excursion got to somewhere around 150 feet…with the bridge manned. The OOD got out of the Navy, surprisingly enough. I guess the only reason he and the lookout didn’t bail is because the harness was too hard to remove.

Rick? Oh, he’s the one with this story:

On a submarine there is rolling, then there is rooooolllliiinnnngggg. I have two and a half sea stories.

Dateline: November 1977, North Atlantic during storm conditions. The USS Omaha was out on her 2nd sea trials crusing at 150 ft with almost 200 souls aboard, ship’s force plus 80 yard workers from Electric Boat. We spent days doing regular 30 degree rolls with the occasional 45, not to mention pitching (up and down) and yawing at the same time. Yes, a three-axis barf-fest. 2nd sea trials means it was our second time out on the ocean, and we could not dive deeper than 200 ft until we had done a controlled descent to our rated (classified) operating depth. Too many people, and too shallow was not a fun combination. We had the entire Torpedo Room full of bunks, including next to the Subroc shields. During one especially good roll the Starboard lower shield (700+ pounds of steel-cased lead) broke loose and pushed a guy’s bunk pan clear off the rails. Poor Mad Dog was in it, and the 12 inch drop to the floor was enough to send him sprinting for the head. There were five of us and all we could do was hold it in place during the rolls to Port, then push it back a few inches during the rolls to Starboard. After about five cycles the Torpedoman managed to pound the ball-lock pin back in place to lock it in position. I was a trainee nuc operator, so Timmy, my instructor, was *supposed* to be escorted at all times when I was on watch in the Lower Level Engine Room but he was hunched over a trash can the whole 6 hours we were on watch. Well, I learned to walk on pumps, pipes, and walls pretty quickly and never had a problem. The first, and only, time I really felt queasy under water was during a movie that cruise in Crew’s Mess. Wall to wall bodies, and half of them smoking….. I decided to get some fresh air so I just headed to the Forward Escape Trunk and headed up. Four steps up the ladder and I almost hit my head on a hand wheel. Oh S***, the lower hatch is down and dogged. That meant that 7 feet above the outer hatch was down and dogged. And *that* meant I had another 120 feet to go to get to fresh air. I headed to my bunk…

Dateline: Summer 1980, South China Sea during the typhoon season. We had been blown out of Hong Kong by a storm rolling down out of China and were heading back to Subic Bay. We were seriously short handed, 1/3 of the ward room and about 1/2 the crew was aboard. We had a bunch stuck on the DD that had been our shore power supply in the harbor, and the rest stranded on the beach in Hong Kong, they ended up flying to Subic Bay on commercial airlines. The seas blew up so fast we couldn’t remove the covers sealing the after ballast tanks, so we were stuck on the surface, and there were storms a ‘plenty that summer that we had to dodge. The officers were Port and Starboard for OOD and we were all Port/Starboard as well, we even had a Chief standing one of the Engineering Officer of the Watch shifts in Maneuvering. We had an A-ganger cooking breakfast (Bear’s Breakfast Beans) and other unmentionable things going on. A submarine underway has a minimum of military BS, and we were running with even less. We pulled in to Subic about 0800 the third day out and *finally* got those damn covers off. The Omaha Skimmer Society came home from the destroyer, and the 692nd Airborne got home as well. Our CO counted noses, checked the weather reports, and we beat feet out of Subic Bay around 1600, just before a storm came across from the east that beat the ever-loving snot out of Luzon island and Subic Bay.

No, submarines (and submariners) do NOT like the surface.

Final story. We were in Cocoa Beach for sound trials and a Fleet Oiler was moored behind us. We got to talking to the bridge crew, and they told us about their Captain. He was a submariner who was getting his deep draft surface command experience. When he had been on board a month or so they were out at sea during a storm, bouncing around like a large ship will. The CO came on to the bridge and rapped out “Officer of the Deck, submerge the ship, make your depth 200 feet and maintain present course.” Now, the OOD looked at the JOOD, who looked at the Helmsman, who looked at the Messenger of the Watch, who looked back at the OOD. “But, sir….. This is a surface ship, we can’t submerge.” With those words the CO turned a brighter shade of green and wasn’t seen again until the storm was over…..

Submariners do NOT like the surface, even when they aren’t on submarines.

Rick T

USS Omaha SSN 692

MM/ELT, Plankowner.

I’ve got to admit that there are a lot of surface ship situations where “dive, dive” is the most reasonable answer. That surfacing part at the end is a little tricky, though.

The 23d Street Blogville Community News

Filed under: — Chap @ 9:15 am

I’ve been getting some great sea stories and comments this week from people who braved the difficult comments bar I can’t fix. Here are a few.

–Curt, a retired surface commander, writes with:

Too rough for refueling at sea?

Chap, since you haven’t had the pleasure being a submariner, I seem to recall some pretty hairy seas with ships along side my first ship (now decommed), the USS MILWAUKEE (Always Out Replenishing -2). Not only did I have the wonderful opportunity as JOOD/Conn and later OOD to do it in the daytime, but I recall times (one in particular) at night. In two years of that, there was one parted spanwire when the Reserve GEARING Class DD had a steering failure, another almost parting when a Reserve GEARING Class took off with the mid-ships station spanwire still attached (we did see where the bitter end of the spanwire was clamped to the STREAM rig drum). That one happened in broad daylight with no wind and calm seas, go figure!

The only other almost oops! was when a CGN decided to try to re-enact the Royal Navy Type 42 approach by steaming straight at us, hauling off slightly to one side, then put it in a hard rudder turn, ending up perfectly stationed at 120-140 feet abeam. Needless to say, the juding of turning time was off ever so slightly. Despite being way back in ‘78, I recall being on the flight deck starboard and holding my breath while the CGN put on the turns and tried to resist the urge to turn away sharply, as her (can I still call a ship a “her?”) stern came closer and closer, before the extra turns cut in and she began to move away. We got within about 20 feet. I bet that skipper was seriously considering the wording of his OPREP that would be a career ender. All we could do was hold course and provide a steady reference point. Turning away would have only risked putting our stern into hers.

One time we had one of the KOELSCH Class FF’s along side. Bright, clear sky day, but she was taking green water over the bow and white over the bridge while we pumped to her. My OSC took a series of pics of it all. I have them in a box somewhere, first down by the stern and SQS-26 dome almost out o the water and then plunging into the green stuff, with the bridge wing crowd noticably cringing….Yes, at some point, discresion is the better part of valor, but it’s been done on some pretty rough days and nights, even in exercises. You don’t take your eyes off the situation for even a second during those alongside times. My first tour was a great career starter.

Later I was CHENG when we had the honor of being the first DD963 to refuel someone else at sea, so the AOR-2 experience came in handy. Funny story: How does a ship find itself half way between Brazil and Equatorial Guinea almost out of gas? My guess is being too anxious for liberty in your last Brazilian post visit, but then it wasn’t me! We had both come off the UNITAS XXIII and were being sent to different ports in West Africa for show the flag, when the unnamed KNOX class FF asked for gas, estimating they wouldn’t make it across. Now that I think about it, a few years later, the same FF was assigned to the CDS I was on and their inability to think for themselves has somehow been passed down between the COs. Enough of the old days. Enjoy the sailing in the storm. Wish I could be there to see the majesty of the power of nature.

Luckily for us the last few days have been running far enough outside the hurricanes that we were limited to twentysomething rolls. I did get to see a little excitement in the area you described, though I won’t repeat it in this forum.

Candepundit is moving eastward, and also has to split the work and move duties. Good luck!

–Tammi’s got good news and bad news. The good news? Her blog is back home where it should be. The bad news? The hurricane came to visit again.

–Betsy and a Tunny sailor dropped by to say hi, courtesy of the Doc In The Box. Thanks for dropping by!

September 25, 2004

DBF vs. The Nukes

Filed under: — Chap @ 3:01 pm

I mentioned earlier that there is a periodic “why not conventional subs?” question that pops up in the Navy version of the chattering classes. Not the deciding classes, mind you; the chattering ones. Sometimes this chattering winds up in the very expensive newsletters put out to gather and spread gossip that might help a defense contractor get or defend a contract.

There are a couple of interesting developments in the non-nuclear submarine world: air-independent propulsion has brought us subs that can spend weeks underwater, the navies that figured out the asymmetric value of diesel subs have been buying them by the (ahem) boatload, and some countries want them and can’t get them. As an example of the international nature of sub sales, the Russians have in the past offered Kilos for export, and the Germans have a rather vigorous export program for their SSKs. This kind of ship is expensive per ton to build. Add in the cost of a new class of ship and you get something like the Australian Collins class, which is a great diesel that took so long to get combat ready and cost close enough to the cost of an SSN to make the Australians wince.

And as good as the Collins is, it can’t drive from Perth to Halifax without refueling, or stay underwater without snorkeling for months. This changes how you can use the ship. On the plus side, a small SSK can get into somewhat shallower water, you don’t have the worries or political concerns or infrastructure or manpower cost of a mobile nuclear reactor, and one SSK is cheaper than one SSN.

That cost-vs-capability drives us to a prisoner’s dilemma logic. If the less capable thing is six bucks, the more capable thing is ten bucks, and you have eleven, you always pick the more capable thing. This is, however, a short term logic–if you figure out that the national value of six SSKs is more than the national value of four or two SSNs over the long term, then you make another decision. (Note that I say “national value” here, not “equivalence”–comparing the two directly may not be the correct measure to make.) Add in other things like a different structure for a different kind of ship, too.

Buying SSN vs. SSK requires a decision bigger than the first couple years of budget–and nothing that is in the POM outyears is recognizable by that time. When the Navy buys a gadget, they put a request in the budget that goes via the President to Congress, in a Politburo-style Five Year Plan. The next year’s money gets approved, and the “out years” at the end of that plan aren’t necessarily what happens the next year when we send another budget up to Congress again. So here lies another conundrum. We always say we make up the shortage in the out years, but there isn’t really a hammer to force a service to do so–and that’s probably not all bad, since it’s too long to react to changing technology or strategic situation.

A diesel sub can’t drive at ahead flank for two weeks, then spend three months sitting off the coast of mumble with no support. A nuclear-powered boat can. With thousands of miles between home port and your destination, that makes sense. Our diesels, before they got paid off, were forward deployed to save that time and gas–but it was still harder for them. Nuke aircraft carriers like having the sub sprint ahead. Diesels can’t do that well. With this lower capability, coupled with the prisoner’s dilemma, we stopped building diesels.

Taiwan wants subs, as their WWII U.S. handoffs (Guppy conversion, actually) are old old old, and they realize that an asset in the strait is better for them than a promise of a carrier later. They got a massive case of sticker shock…and then found out that several previous attempts at building non-nuclear subs in the US have been killed off. Now, they’ve found that the initiative promised by our president ain’t happening, and the contractors over there are losing their jobs and moving back to the States.

Some might even say that they’ve been killed off because the nuclear submarine force wants badly to protect their force structure.

Yesterday’s Early Bird supplement, buried in the bottom, had a comment from the not-on-the-Internet Defense and Foreign Affairs Daily. A “fair use” snippet:

Exclusive. Analysis. By GIS (Global Information System) Staff, Washington.

Very reliable sources within the US Navy have confirmed to GIS/Defense & Foreign Affairs Daily that deliberate moves have been made, and a concerted campaign mounted, by US Navy (USN) officers committed to the concept of a US “nuclear (powered) navy”, to ensure that the US does not provide the Republic of China Navy (ROCN: Taiwanese Navy) with conventional submarines (SSKs) as promised by US Pres. George W. Bush.

The belief by these officers is that any return by the USN to support the production of conventionally-powered submarines, even for export to the ROC or Israel, would inevitably lead to the USN procuring some SSKs for its own use, thereby ending the all-nuclear submarine (SSN and SSBN) fleet which the USN now has.

The move totally subverts Pres. Bush’s commitment in 2002 to Taiwan, and while the attitude of the “nuclear navy” toward the resumption of conventional boats has been clear for many years, GIS sources report that vehemence with which the pro-nuclear officers have gone about their obstruction of the transfer of any technology or technical information to the ROCN regarding the proposed submarine project. The project was to have involved US funding and possible construction of a German SS or SSK design.

The GIS sources said that, by the time the pro-nuclear officers were through, the ROC “might be lucky to get a license to build US World War II Guppy-type submarines; they would be better off raising some of the scuttled German Type XXIs from the North Sea”. These officers had even forced protracted meetings and debates to discuss the “definition of a submarine”, among other infantile attempts at obfuscating the discussions. Other points raised included the suggestion that providing the ROC with “US technology” was tantamount to providing it to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) because “Taiwan will be taken over sooner or later by the mainlanders”.

That suggestion in itself ignores US treaty obligations to help sustain Taiwan’s security in the event of a threat by the PRC, but equally ignores the fact that the conventional submarine technology would come not from the US, but from Germany, in any event. And Germany has already demonstrated that its technology is available to the PRC, given the widespread sale of German submarines to states with close relations with Beijing.

Some USN officers, angered by the deliberate sabotaging of US policy, have suggested that the “pro-nuke” officers have, in fact, strengthened the hand of the PRC in planning any confrontation of the ROC, and thereby had made US policy options more difficult, given the treaty obligations which the US has to the ROC. One officer said: “Strengthening US deployment to four SSNs in Guam is hardly going to make Beijing think twice about moving on Taiwan.”

Once as a LT I asked a guy about to put on his fourth star what it would take in SSK capability to consider building AIP SSKs. He never answered…

September 24, 2004

Battered About

Filed under: — Chap @ 5:06 pm

Jeanne has decided to hang out and maximize her annoyance prior to smacking land somewhere. Seas are too rough to do small boat ops, and the refueling at sea was challenging (take several ships of many tens of thousands of tons each, get them reeeeal close to each other, and cashier both CO’s if they exchange paint–and then transfer fuel for a couple of hours). Seas haven’t been too bad but the occasional swell rises up and reminds people that “stow for sea” means something important.

We’re rapidly planning to adjust our operations to support wherever Jeanne winds up, but this will be a bit of work for our ops guys on both sides.

And while I’m lollygagging around here, my better half has packed out the house by herself, and moved a pile of stuff and two apprehensive housecats from the ex-house to the hotel. That’s a lot to fit in the Mini!

At some point, the real orders will come and supersede the fake orders I have in hand, and off to the schools for the new job I go. I’ve finally gotten in contact with the guy I’m relieving; looks like a weird job indeed. Another of those “out on a limb, no backup, nobody does this besides you” kind of jobs.

September 23, 2004

Happy Thought For Today

Filed under: — Chap @ 7:18 pm

“I’ve reached the point where I can’t do again what I know I do well, and the larger things I need to do now, I doubt my capacity for doing.”

–Flannery O’Connor, shortly before her death

Allawi and U.S. Congress

Filed under: — Chap @ 4:41 pm

Thankfully, Allawi spoke to Congress and avoided the humiliating format the Senate forced on Karzai back in 2002. It was a powerful speech–from the transcript, I’m underway.

The text of Prime Minister Allawi’s speech can be found here.

As we move forward, the next major milestone will be holding of the free and fair national and local elections in January next.


I know that some have speculated, even doubted, whether this date can be met. So let me be absolutely clear: Elections will occur in Iraq on time in January because Iraqis want elections on time.


For the skeptics who do not understand the Iraqi people, they do not realize how decades of torture and repression feed our desire for freedom. At every step of the political process to date the courage and resilience of the Iraqi people has proved the doubters wrong.


They said we would miss January deadline to pass the interim constitution.

We proved them wrong.

They warned that there could be no successful handover of sovereignty by the end of June. We proved them wrong. A sovereign Iraqi government took over control two days early.

They doubted whether a national conference could be staged this August. We proved them wrong.

Despite intimidation and violence, over 1,400 citizens, a quarter of them women, from all regions and from every ethnic, religious and political grouping in Iraq, elected a national council.

And I pledge to you today, we’ll prove them wrong again over the elections.

This man has courage to back up his statements.

CounterColumn: Financial

Filed under: — Chap @ 4:01 pm

He’s not responded to several of my previous posts, but Jason asks about how command financial advisors could be set up. He could do worse than to check out the Navy way and find out what they’ve done right and wrong over the years with its Command Financial Counselor program.

September 21, 2004

Pres. Bush At UN

Filed under: — Chap @ 9:43 pm

When I was younger I thought of certain organizations and individuals as being morally a little better than others. The runup to the Iraq war killed a lot of that naivete. The UN’s votes and human rights chair choices and learning about Annan’s role in Rwanda was enough.

Here is the text of the President’s speech to the UN today. I wish I had been able to see it. I understand it was given to a very hostile audience.

I have much anger to resolve where the U.N., and controlling constituent tyrannies and weasels, is concerned. It is an anger they don’t seem to understand, an anger that is explained by some of the things in this speech.

I spent a year in school arguing with people of a certain mindset who couldn’t comprehend my side of the story, or refused to accept the premises when brought to their conclusion. I am in accord with much of this speech above. If achieving these goals is a lonely path, then so be it.

History will honor the high ideals of this organization. The charter states them with clarity: “to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war,” “to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights,” “to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom.”

Let history also record that our generation of leaders followed through on these ideals, even in adversity. Let history show that in a decisive decade, members of the United Nations did not grow weary in our duties, or waver in meeting them. I’m confident that this young century will be liberty’s century. I believe we will rise to this moment, because I know the character of so many nations and leaders represented here today. And I have faith in the transforming power of freedom.

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